Tink, i have a personal story, from a friend...I just looked up the date, this would have been February 13, 1945. My friend's name is Dagmar, and she must have been born 1942 or '43...in Germany. Her middle name is Elfie, her mother wanted that as her first name but all baby names had to be approved by the authorities and Elfie was considered too mystical/magical for a first name.
So she became Dagmar, the warrior queen, Dagmar Elfie much more acceptable. And the time came, the bombing was so heavy that mothers with tiny children were given a small window of time, only maybe 3-4 days, to board the train and take their little ones out to the countryside, safer. So all her mother's friends said, "DON'T take the train through Berlin, which gets bombed so often, take the train through Dresden."
But Dagmar's mother said, "No no, I must not take the train through Dresden, we will go through Berlin."
And then that very night Dagmar and her mother were on the train...Dresden was bombed for the first time ever.
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Here is another story from Dagmar...her father came home from the front, a long leave maybe 6 months, when Dagmar was just a few months old. And from the very first sight of her father, Dagmar would never allow anyone else to feed her, or change her nappy, etc....it was love at first sight for both father and daughter.
Then the father was sent back to the front, where he was killed. But Dagmar always remembered him, even though she was so tiny.
One more story...I was studying Sufism at the Pt. Reyes National Seashore in California, and these folks would come over from Germany to that center...that is how we became friends. And they told me how still at that time, in the 1990's, people in Germany would go out every summer to the sites of the concentration camps with picnic lunch, music, etc., and just laugh, play and dance there...there is still a sense of sorrow and suffering, and my friends were doing all they could to lighten that darkness.
And, I remember when I accidentally came upon Manzanar, in my travels exploring California -- there also, I was struck by a kind of sorrow. So I thought of my friends, and just spent a couple of days at Manzanar, some peace and prayers and such. Strange...almost nothing there now, except the sign, but the sense of sorrow is strong.